Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Gal's 62 Days of Horror Day 14: Among the Stacks: Shaun Hupp


For those of y'all who don't know Shaun - I don't know how, but I'm sure it's possible - you are truly missing out.  Not only is he uber talented, he is just an awesome person.  I actually described him to someone the other day as "off the beaten path" and he immediately went to Amazon to check out some of his stuff.  I am truly honored to have him on The Gal today.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Shaun.  Welcome welcome.  Shaun - these are my people.  People - this is Shaun.
            Let's start this out with an "easy" one: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shaun Hupp:
I'm an author.  I think everyone could have probably guessed that... otherwise, why would I be answering these questions?  I live in Michigan with my wife, three kids, and dog.  I'm pretty boring when I'm not killing people... fictional people that is...  Don't dig up my yard.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Shaun Hupp:
I'm a rebel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Shaun Hupp:
Ugh...  It was probably that Love You Forever kid's book.  I remember seeing that little sh*t covering the bathroom in toilet paper.  I did have a lot of Shel Silverstein shorts and poetry books, which I enjoyed and read over and over.  A little bit darker, I would find books like the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series or the Goosebumps series.  Those started me off liking horror literature.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Shaun Hupp:
Gemini from Stuart Keane and Matt Hickman.  Both of these amazing writers have co-written books with other authors and it won't be the last time.  Matt and I are writing one together right now called Operation Ouroboros to be released later this year.  Co-writing is new to me so hopefully I can learn what I can from Matt.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn't expect you to have liked?

Shaun Hupp:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  It's not horror so most people would not expect that it's my favorite book.  A teacher in high school recommended it to my class, and I've read it a dozen times since.  While I enjoy writing horror, I do write some non-horror stories that always tug at your heart strings and such.  Perks has a lot going for it with its emotional elements, and it has many different character dynamics that I wasn't used to reading about and yet felt like I could relate to them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Shaun Hupp:
I started seriously writing about two years ago.  I had written things before that included a novel, The Jackal, but I really had no idea how to do anything with it or any of my other pieces of work.  Self-publishing really opened doors for me and a bunch of other authors so we could find our audiences.  It really opened me up to find new authors to read, and I can't say enough about how good it is to be an author and a reader right now.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Shaun Hupp:
I don't have a laptop.  I wish I did.  Christmas is coming up...  So, I pretty much write wherever my wife decides she wants to put the computer.  She likes to move furniture around a lot.  My desk has moved from room-to-room and right now, I'm in the living room.  It's fine.  It's hard to find a quiet place when you're watching three kids, so it'll have to do.  Besides, I don't want to mis out on what's going on with them either.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Shaun Hupp:
I can tend to zone out.  I can pick a spot, stare at it, and imagine the scene I'm trying to write.  I can make myself sweat doing this depending on how intense the scene is.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Shaun Hupp:
Finding the time between kids, work, etc just to get the words on the page.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the most satisfying thing you've written so far?

Shaun Hupp:
I really like The Shaun Hupp Collection Volume 1 and I'd really like to repeat what I did with those stories.  In it, I feature several short stories and weave another story in between them that links them together.  I published them all separately previously, and when I re-published them together, people were not expecting how I linked them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Shaun Hupp:
Hard questions.  Well, with my collection, I got the idea from Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted since he did the same with linking a bunch of short stories.  I've seen other authors, such as Matt Drabble, use this idea so I'm definitely not claiming I came up with it.  I also have enjoyed a lot of Chuck's other works.  It's hard to pinpoint other authors that inspire my style because I tend to throw a little bit of what I'm reading into my writing.  For example, I've read a police drama/horror and then started writing something in the same genre.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Shaun Hupp:
I think a good story contains a little bit of every genre, and that's why I believe a good author can write anything.  If your story is horror, you need to still feel an emotional connection to your characters that an author can master from non-horror writing or even a genre such as romance.  A writer needs to be able to throw in scenes of action, suspense, mystery, the sense of wonder from science fiction, etc, etc.  Stories end up reading very flat if the writer can only do one thing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Shaun Hupp:
Great characters need many aspects even if you don't think it's directly involved in the plot to come to life.  They need backstory, they need dreams, they need fears, they need to be as real as you or me.  Then, the reader will care for them.  Makes it so much better when I brutally kill them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Shaun Hupp:
Hmm... I think a lot of my characters have some aspect from me.  Off the top of my head, the father in Jon's Cabin (a non-horror short story) and the father from Mice (a gory story in A Gathering of Gore) could represent my feelings for my children.  Sometimes those ideas and feelings are harder for me to write than the bloodiest of scenes.  And of course Valentine Rodgers.  My detective comedy features a main character that has a lot of my humor.  I also think a lot of my villains have a lot of humor to them, which could also be similar to myself.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Shaun Hupp:
I hope no one thinks my covers are bad because I believe that they are important, and I have made a lot of them for my self-published work.  I've been using Adobe Photoshop for over 15 years and can do some amazing stuff.  However, there are some things beyond me so with my collaboration with Matt Hickman, we got a cover from Michael Bray of MB Design.  I can't recommend him enough.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Shaun Hupp:
There's a great deal of drama within certain parts of the horror community, but it is nothing compared to the amount of people that care and support those authors that care about their readers and other writers.  You get back what you put in.  Help others out.  Be a role model for those on the rung of the ladder below you.  They are not your competition.  They are your friends and allies.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Shaun Hupp:
There's a story that I haven't finished yet.  I kind of put it aside.  It features a really graphic and long rape scene... or at least it will.  I've been putting off writing it.  It's in my head so I know I need to write it, but I don't want to.  I know it might piss some people off, but I still feel the need to write it.  So often when I read rape scenes in books, it is glossed over, and it's done in a few sentences.  I told myself I wouldn't do that.  I want my readers to feel as if they are trapped in that moment in time because that is very much what is happening to my character.  I know it could be very triggering for some people, but this is horror.  It's my job to make you uncomfortable.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Shaun Hupp:
I consider my writing an emotional rollercoaster.  With my horror pieces, I try to include some element that will allow the reader to emotionally connect to the characters.  If you feel for the character, you'll feel more danger as the reader.  Sometimes, right in the middle or right before a  horrific scene, I'll stop the plot to reveal something personal about a character, and then hit you hard below the belt.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Shaun Hupp:
I'd say it is pretty important.  Sometimes they come to me easily and sometimes they don't.  Valentine Rodgers: Private Dick/Umbrella Salesman might have been Private Eye, but I wanted a dick joke on the cover.  My novelette Pound went by many names such as Love Hurts and Love Tap before I decided on something simple.  Sometimes with stories like The Worst Kind of Monster and I Will Make You Love Me, I went with a line in the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Shaun Hupp:
Currently co-writing my first novel, but I assume I'll probably feel more fulfilled when I finish it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, an what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Shaun Hupp:
I write a bit of everything, but mostly horror.  Other than The Worst Kind of Monster, I don't think my stories have an idea that I'm trying to convey.  I'm just out to entertain.  If you take anything away from them, I hope that my stories have brought joy laced with fear into their lives.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Shaun Hupp:
Hmm... Usually, if I delete something, I see it as a mistake or something I could make better.  Either I saw that a certain backstory history would be wrong for a character, or I thought of something awesome the next day and decided to make a change.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Shaun Hupp:
I have a full trunk.  I have a lot of open projects that I've written several chapters for, but managed to start something new.  It's a problem.  I need to finish what I start.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Shaun Hupp:
I have plans for a Shaun Hupp Collection Volume 2 and, hopefully, finish one of those novels in my "trunk."

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Shaun Hupp:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Shaun.  I'm glad you decided to take part in The Gal's 62 Days of Horror.  (I may or may not have fangirled a bit when you agreed.)  It's been a pleasure, and I hope you come back again.
            One more thing before you go: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Shaun Hupp:
Just thanks for taking the time to read this interview and thanks for all the support you've given me over the years.  This is my dream job.  If you don't give up on me, I won't give up on myself.  I have a tough journey ahead of me.  It's a lot harder than you'd expect.

That's what she said.


About the author:
Shaun Hupp lives in Michigan with his wife, two kids, and dog.  While he mainly writes in the horror genre, he also dabbles in the supernatural and comedy.  When he's not writing, he wears t-shirts of sports teams he could care less about.  He also needs to take the trash out.

About the book:
He hears their thoughts, knows their troubles, and knows just the right story to tell them...
            Four strangers on a train are about to meet the one man who will change their lives forever.

Shaun Hupp presents a collection of four tales of terror, ranging from suspense to extreme horror.
            Pay the toll, watch your step, climb aboard, and hang on.

Contains four previously published short story best sellers available on Amazon and one brand new story to connect them.

College student Megan thought she was in love with her professor, but after a while, those feelings dwindled and she soon realized that he was all wrong for her.  She ended it.
            But it's not over...
            Professor Nick Heston still loves her.  He gave up everything for her.  It's time to rekindle that love... by any means necessary.
            Now Megan finds herself bound with duct tape and held hostage by a madman that barely resembles the man she used to love.  What does he have planned for her?
            Class is in session.

Why won't anyone believe me?
            Dustin knows there's something in the basement.  He's heard the growling from the laundry chute for days.  If he wants his parents to believe him, he's going to need proof.  And to get that, he's going to have to go down there with...
            The Worst Kind of Monster

Gwen and Hank are celebrating their one year anniversary, but little do they know,

Someone is watching them...
Someone has been looking for a couple like them for a long time...
Someone wants to know all their darkest secrets...
Someone won't give them a chance to say no...

Suddenly, a night of romantic bliss is turning into sheer terror because
Someone has some questions for the happy couple...

You, the reader, should feel lucky.
You only need to answer one question.
Who will make it out alive?

Life's not fair for Matt.  Being overweight and bullied all his life has turned him into a longer.  Rather than venturing out into the world, he'd rather stay up in his room watching porn and eating fast food.
            But his world is about to change.  One Saturday afternoon while he's home alone, the doorbell rings.  Matt meets the girl of his dreams.
            However, this is NOT a simple love story...  This is NOT a tale of love at first sight...  This is NOT going to end well for anybody...
            Who will survive... POUND?

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